Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Xiaozhao Huang


In my thesis, Grice's Conversational Implicature Revisited: A Discourse Analysis of Reproductive Loss in Women's Talk, it is my intent to explore the discursive modalities of reproductive loss narrated by women, who, at different stages of gestation, have lost one or more children. Rooted in a theoretical framework in discourse analysis, my thesis seeks to analyze how women, having participated in an interview with a female interlocutor who lost a child herself, narrate their experiences of reproductive loss.

My hypothesis is that the more personal information about the experience of reproductive loss the participant is supposed to share, the more often she expects the female interlocutor to rely on the cooperative principle and the conversational implicature introduced by Grice. in order to understand the meaning of what is said in this special form of women's talk, the female speaker expects or forces the female hearer to refer to the participants' mutual knowledge (including scripts, schema, and cultural and gender concepts), contextual reference of the utterances (linguistic and otherwise), and the filling-in of gaps. Having analyzed personal interviews with eight women from my home country of Switzerland, I further look at the ways in which these women handle and relate to their experience, which, after all, is still considered a taboo in society, before raising questions about gender specific modes of narration.

In other words, personal or intimate questions about the experience of reproductive loss negatively influence the flow of speech insofar as it generates, as an effect of it, a limited presence of crucial semantic elements. I anticipate the results that in this form of conversation among women, a speaker relies upon a hearer's cooperative principle and conversational implicature by mainly providing fragmental information about the traumatic event.